Are IT budgets about to feel the squeeze?

Wednesday - 8/17/2011, 8:50am EDT

Kevin Plexico, vice president, Deltek

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By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

The impending threat of big budget cuts is forcing a number of agencies to delay or cancel their IT projects.

Federal Times reported this week on a litany of projects that have been shuttered or postponed, including at the Social Security Administration. The Navy and Marine Corps could also see their IT budgets cut by as much as 25 percent, Federal Times reported.

Kevin Plexico, a vice president at market research firm Deltek, joined the Federal Drive to discuss the prospects for IT spending ahead of what many technology watchers expect to be more constricted agency budgets.

In the scheme of things, IT will be relatively spared compared to other areas, Plexico said. In fact, some areas, such as cybersecurity and cloud computing could see greater agency investment.

However, in the wake of the debt ceiling deal and the need for future cuts, agencies will have to make some hard decisions.

From the IT perspective, IT cuts will be "far more surgical," than across-the-board cuts or aggregate cuts, he said.

Plexico said agencies and IT watchers were caught somewhat unaware by the new mood of agency budget cuts.

"I don't think we saw it coming in the way it came," he said, adding that most people expected the economy to improve more quickly than it has.

In the next year, he said, agency managers should look for programs where they can free up money.

But they shouldn't only focus solely on cutting back. Rather,leaders should also find areas where they can use IT to leverage government operations to become more efficient.